- June 2, 2016
One in five Americans never floss their teeth, according to a recent American Dental Association survey. And less than half of Americans follow the ADA recommendation to floss daily.
Maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Centers for Disease Control found the nearly 50 percent of American adults have some form of periodontal disease.
We hope you are making an effort floss daily, but we also want to help you maintain a healthy mouth. This is why it’s so important for you to visit Historic Triangle Dental Care in Williamsburg, VA, for routine cleanings and examinations.
What Have You Got To Lose? Teeth
If we wanted to name one big reason to take care of your gums it would be your teeth. Gum disease is the cause of more tooth loss than anything else in the United States.
This is unfortunate, and as dental professionals, it makes us a little sad. After all, the tools needed to protect your mouth health are inexpensive and widely available.
Nevertheless, it’s important that you receive professional dental care at least a couple times each year.
During your appointment, our dental hygienist will give your mouth a thorough cleaning. This will remove any plaque or tartar buildup, and we will floss between your teeth to make sure your gums are clean as well.
While you are with us, we will check for signs of tooth decay, but just as important, we will pay attention to your gums.
If we see the symptoms of gingivitis or periodontitis, we will let you know and share what needs to be done to address the problem. If you do have periodontitis, be aware that you will require professional treatment (such as scaling and root planing) to remove the infection from your gums.
Fighting Gum Disease
In order to prevent gum disease, you need to understand why it happens.
Poor oral hygiene is a significant contributor, but it’s not the only reason you may develop problems. Dry mouth (which can be a symptom of diabetes), family history, tobacco use, and being a female going through a hormone change (puberty, pregnancy, or menopause) all can increase your risk of periodontal problems.
Bacteria live inside your mouth, and they multiply on a daily basis. Bacteria feed on the sugars in the foods that we eat, and they can use those sugars to form plaque (a sticky substance that clings to teeth). Plaque that hardens becomes tartar.
If bacteria attack your teeth, it can lead to tooth decay. If bacteria attack your gum tissue, it leads to gum disease.
A good daily oral hygiene routine will greatly reduce the number of bacteria. You will never get them all, which is why they continue to multiply and why you need to brush and floss every single day.
When you brush, use a soft-bristled toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste. Scrub your teeth on all sides for two minutes twice each day.
Flossing is important because it cleans the place that you cannot clean with a toothbrush. Specifically, the spaces between each of your teeth, and the area between each of your teeth and your gums.
If you either can’t or won’t use dental floss, please use another interdental device such as a flosser or a water flosser to remove bacteria, plaque, and food particles from those harder to reach spaces.
What To Watch For
While it’s important to visit our office a few times each year, a lot can happen in a matter of months. This is why we want you to know the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease, too.
We will start with gingivitis, the milder form of gum disease.
People with gingivitis have gums that appear red and swollen. Their gums also bleed when they brush or floss. This should be seen as a reason to brush and floss more often, not a reason to avoid brushing and flossing.
Assuming you do nothing about this, it can turn into periodontitis, which is a more serious form of gum disease. It’s symptoms include:
- Gums that are sore and tender
- Gums that bleed easily
- Gums that are separating from your teeth (receding)
- Persistent bad breath
- Teeth that feel loose in their sockets
This is partly due to the weakening of your gum tissue, although in the latter stages, gum disease also may attack the bone that holds your teeth in place.
Protect Your Gums
If you want to preserve your winning smile, then you must maintain your gum health.
To do this, make sure you brush and floss daily, and be sure to keep your appointments for routine cleanings and examinations at Historic Triangle Dental Care in Williamsburg, VA.